Despite a new head coach and major staff turnover, the Dallas Cowboys past rules of free agency will continue to govern decisions.
Dallas Cowboys fans are waiting for any sign to believe the new regime under head coach Mike McCarthy will signal a seismic shift towards championship contention.
The reality is the biggest difference will come from the actual coaching of players and not the acquisition aspect of the organization. Along those lines, it’s only logical to set free agency expectations to follow recent past guidelines.
ASSEMBLE A PLAYABLE TWO-DEEP ROSTER
I never buy into to declarations of Dallas having a purely ‘best player available’ draft strategy. Some positions are simply on ice. Though the Cowboys front office tries their hardest to assemble a playable two-deep before the draft to afford that luxury.
There are many holes to fill in the Cowboys depth chart in free agency before the draft arrives. Yet recent past suggests they will attempt to solidify a competitive lineup with at least two bodies at each specific position.
An example of this will arise when Tyrone Crawford remains on the roster. He’s under contract until 2021, but won’t be a roster cut in order to reduce free agency needs. Dallas needs capable bodies at defensive end and tackle. Crawford can start at either.
Most Cowboys fans realize his injuries and production do not warrant another season of spending over $9 million of cap funds to retain his services. However, his flexibility is a valuable commodity that won’t be ignored if they can lower the cap charge.
KNOWN COMMODITIES TAKE PRECEDENT
Nobody wants to hear COO Stephen Jones say “we like our guys” for the umpteenth time before free agency. But the fact is that statement is an honest belief. Some Cowboys free agents will price themselves out of the conversation.
However when it comes to modest re-signings like safety Jeff Heath, it would be foolish to think Dallas isn’t invested in making a strong push for such a known commodity. Heath can provide starts if needed and is a special teams plus.
This line of reasoning leans towards end Robert Quinn getting an extension. The secondary will be a heavy draft focus at corner and safety. With defensive tackle also lacking, it’s likely Dallas intends to delay the end rusher draft search until 2021.
RE-SIGNINGS ARE THE BIG SPLASHES
Re-signing or tagging quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper will be the Cowboys big splashes of free agency. The amount of money or resources spent attempting to lock up these two pieces is significant.
If expecting a shocking acquisition of a new big dollar name, it’s just not in the cards for this front office. An enticing player may surprisingly become available like Quinn did last year, but still requires a reasonable price tag with a gamble aspect attached.